2022 is the Year of Stories, a year dedicated to Scotland's stories through the themes of Iconic Stories and Storytellers, New Stories, Scotland's People and Places, Local Tales and Legends and Inspired by Nature. Now, as the excitement of the summer and the festival season winds down, and the seasons start to turn, we are here to recommend books that will refresh and encourage new passions. From fiction to picture books and history to travel, we have a collection of books here that celebrate art and life.

David Robinson is thrilled to be taken to 1920s London by master storyteller, Kate Atkinson.


Shrines of Gaiety By Kate Atkinson Published by Doubleday


‘“Is it a hanging?” an eager newspaper delivery boy asked no-one in particular.’ That’s the first sentence of Kate Atkinson’s new novel Shrines of Gaiety, and already the hook is in. (Do you want to read on? Of course you do.) No, it isn’t a hanging, but that’s a reasonable question all the same, what with the crowd of drunken toffs outside Holloway so early in the morning, the press photographers waiting expectantly, demonstrators already there with their placards, and the police keeping an eye on everything in the background. And of course, what with it also being 1926, when the gallows in England’s only female-only prison were still in occasional use.

If you want to know why Atkinson is such readable writer, you could do worse than look in depth at that opening scene.  In just five pages, she not only introduces its central character – notorious Soho nightclub owner Nellie ‘Ma’ Coker, who is being released from prison that day – but five of her six grown-up children. On top of that, the novel sets up a secret mission: a police chief inspector has summoned an undercover agent to the scene who’ll be able to recognise Coker and her children in the future. That’s eight key characters we’ve met for the first time, each differentiated with either dialogue or description, and yet  – and this is Atkinson’s real skill – so subtly that you hardly notice it.

Think about it. If you (I presume) or I attempted such a thing, by character No 3, the reader might already be tiring of so many introductions. Instead, we see the scene through the newspaper boy’s eyes as he shoves his way through the crowd towards the gates. They’re quite imposing. How high are they...


Scotland Street Press will be publishing a collection of poems from Alan Spence from his time as Edinburgh Makar. Enjoy these two poems from the collection, and then get yourself the whole book – it’s a marvellous celebration of the city.


Edinburgh Come All Ye By Alan Spence Published by Scotland Street Press



From the Mediterranean to the Baltic, from the Caspian Sea to the Atlantic, folk have foregathered here in Edinburgh on this bright autumn day they’ve come together. In a world turned tapsalteerie, upside down they’ve come from a the airts to this old town. Let’s sing a great Come All Ye, let it ring, a song of peace and oneness, gathering in strength from everyone who gives it voice, sung clear and pure and from the heart. Rejoice to hear it rise and swell, anthemic, free....



New Skin For Old Ceremony: Nasim Asl Interviews Arun Sood click

New Skin For Old Ceremony: Nasim Asl Interviews Arun Sood

‘I always listen to music when I’m writing.’


Peak Beyond Peak click

Peak Beyond Peak

‘If a traveller is on the right line they will find the trail blazed for them at every cross-road.’


Creative Response: Tariq Ashkanani on His Bloody Project click

Creative Response: Tariq Ashkanani on His Bloody Project

‘Indeed, as Burnet states in his introductory remarks, it is left to the reader to reach their own conclusions, and to solve the question that has hovered over them this entire time, lingering on thei …


i am ill with hope click

i am ill with hope

‘You uplift me.  You make me want to build a ship,’


Seasons of Storm and Wonder click

Seasons of Storm and Wonder

‘And in that silence I stepped beyond the reach of my first few summers and I became a child of autumn.’


Scottish Women Writers: 1800 to the First World War click

Scottish Women Writers: 1800 to the First World War

‘As in more recent times, nineteenth-century women writers had different motivations. Some had independent means, so were free to choose their genres and write for their own pleasure; some hoped to su …


Pretty Young Rebel: A Q & A with Flora Fraser click

Pretty Young Rebel: A Q & A with Flora Fraser

‘I do hope readers will enjoy Pretty Young Rebel. I hope they will also come away with the sense, that this was a woman who was admired and respected by all but at the same time was scrambling to nego …


Hungry Beat: A Q & A with Douglas MacIntyre click

Hungry Beat: A Q & A with Douglas MacIntyre

‘I think the spirit of independence in today’s scene can be traced back the fervour with which Fast Product and Postcard agitated.’


The Tall Tale of the Giant’s Causeway click

The Tall Tale of the Giant’s Causeway

‘Folklore is constantly evolving, and I hope that evolution will keep these wonderful flexible stories relevant all the way from ‘once upon a time’ to a far-distant ‘happy ever after’…  ‘


The Book. . . According to James Buchan click

The Book. . . According to James Buchan

‘I had spent five year following Law’s traces in Europe and North America and, what with lockdowns and all, found it hard to surface from the eighteenth century into the twenty-first.’


Anxiety Music click

Anxiety Music

‘You only live as long  As the last person to remember you’